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Save the dates

By Grand Rapids Magazine Staff
Photography by Johnny Quirin


The holiday season is winding down and at
least three solid months of winter lay ahead. There’s no better way to fend off cabin fever
than immediately putting to work this 2006 preview, your planning guide for the upcoming year’s main events, from festivals to exhibits, sports to stage, consumer shows to concerts.

Because some information is not yet available or confirmed for many events, be sure to review GR Magazine’s complete calendar listing in each monthly issue for updates, additions and information on happenings not listed in this overview.

In the meantime, curl up in your favorite chair with a warm beverage, a pen and blank calendar: 2006 lies before you.

Exhibit openings:
“Andy Goldsworthy,” exclusive to Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park, opens Jan. 27 and runs to May 14. The exhibition, Goldsworthy’s largest in the United States to date, will feature the colossal stone “Arch” and related “Herd of Arches.”

“Fashion for Films: Period Costumes for the Screen” runs Jan. 27 to March 26 at the Grand Rapids Art Museum. Thirty-five original costumes created for period films by award-winning film directors such as James Ivory, Jane Champion and Ang Lee and worn by actors such as Gwyneth Paltrow in “Emma,” Kate Winslet in “Titanic,” Nicole Kidman in “Far and Away” and “Portrait of a Lady,” and many more.

“Treasures of Ancient Egypt: The Quest for Immortality” opens Jan. 28 at Van Andel Museum Center. It’s the largest collection of objects ever to leave Egypt for North America and includes a reconstruction of the sarcophagus chamber of Thutmose III with the complete text of the Egyptian Book of the Dead on its walls. This landmark exhibit runs through May 7.

Annual events:
Jan. 3: One Book, One County kicks off with a presentation by this year’s chosen author (not yet announced at press time) at Fountain Street Church and continues through March 21 with book discussion groups throughout Kent County. or

Jan 4-24: Calvin College’s January Series features 15 days of free lectures by internationally renowned speakers, including Paul Rusesabagina on “Hotel Rwanda: A Lesson Yet to be Learned,” Tim Dean on “Globalization of the Media,” and Juan Enriques, author of “As the Future Catches You.” 12:30 p.m. (doors open 11:30 a.m.). Calvin College Fine Arts Center. for a complete list.

Jan. 16: Martin Luther King Jr. Community Peach March is a GRCC-sponsored walk that begins at noon at Ford Fieldhouse and proceeds to Fountain Street Church for a 12:30 program.

Jan. 22: The Harlem Globetrotters bring their “Unstoppable” North American Tour to the Van Andel Arena. The Globetrotters celebrate their 80th anniversary this year. They will play the New York Nations at 3 p.m. Tickets are available through Ticketmaster.

Season openers:
Grand Rapids Rampage Arena Football season opens Jan. 28 with a home game vs. the Arizona Rattlers. The last home game of the season (No. 8) is May 21. Home field is the Van Andel Arena.

Annual events:
Feb. 2-5: The Home Expo is hosted by Home and Building Association of Greater GR, bringing together building professionals involved in all aspects of the home to exhibit new and unique products at the DeltaPlex. Tickets at door.

Feb. 2-5: Michigan International Auto Show has hundreds of the latest model cars, trucks, SUVs and sport cars from all the major manufacturers, joined by concept cars and pre-production displays at DeVos Place.

Feb. 7: WYCE Jammie Awards event, in its seventh year, honors local music groups in several categories, with many nominees on hand to perform. 8 pm. The Intersection, 133 Grandville Ave. SW. Free.

Feb. 10, 11: Opera Grand Rapids presents Leonard Bernstein’s “West Side Story,” joining forces with GR Ballet Company, GR Symphony and a cast of Broadway artists at DeVos Performance Hall. Verdi’s “La Traviata” will be presented in May. Performed at DeVos Performance Hall.

Feb. 10-12: West Michigan Golf Show is in its 18th year of offering free lessons, seminars and thousands of products on display by vendors at DeVos Place.

Feb. 15-19: Grand Rapids Boat Show is more than 60 years old. More than 400 boats of all types are exhibited at DeVos Place.

Feb. 21: The Grand Culinary Affair is the much anticipated evening when Grand Rapids Magazine presents its dining awards, and the American Culinary Federation of Greater Grand Rapids presents its chef awards at GRCC’s Applied Technology Center. For info/tickets, call GRCC Hospitality Department at 234-3690.

Feb. 24: The Great Wine and Food Symposium is presented by WGVU and D&W, and features more than 25 tables of gourmet foods and 300 varieties of wine from around the world at the Van Andel Museum Center. Tickets are $50 per person (over 21 only), $45 for more than one, $35 for WGVU members.

Feb. 25: “Young, Gifted and Black” is presented by GR Symphony and features the power and grace of gospel music, including a performance by the 180-voice Community Gospel Chorus, at DeVos Performance Hall.

Exhibit openings:
“Requiem by the Photographers Who Died in Vietnam and Indochina” opens March 26 and runs through June 4 at the Gerald R. Ford Museum. The traveling exhibit features more than 150 images taken by photojournalists who died in Southeast Asia during the Vietnam and French Indochina wars, and is a follow-up to a tremendously successful Pulitzer Prize exhibition.

Annual events:
March 1-April 30: Foremost Butterflies Are Blooming
brings hundreds of tropical rainforest butterflies to the Lena Meijer Conservatory at Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park. Special family activities take place each weekend.

March 2-5: West Michigan Home & Garden Show can fulfill your home and garden dreams. Home products and services, interior and exterior remodeling, new construction and interior design are on display at DeVos Place, along with free garden, home improvement and cooking seminars daily.

March 10-12: West Michigan Women’s Expo is a shopping extravaganza with exhibits and seminars tailored to women and families. Career planning, education, health and wellness, home and garden, spring bridal fashions, food and cooking and much more are included. DeVos Place.

March 16-19: Ultimate Sport and RV Show brings information about lodges, fly-in camps, charters, guided trips, as well as manufacturer displays, seminars and more to DeVos Place.

March 17: The Wearin’ of the Green is hosted every year by Fenian’s Irish Pub in Conklin, with a parade down Main Street at 10:45 a.m., followed by an authentic, all-day Irish Hooley at the pub, where Irish musicians, dancers and singers (and the general public) are welcome to participate.

Season openers:
West Michigan Whitecaps,
professional minor league baseball team and Class A affiliates of the Detroit Tigers, plays their home opener on April 6, with fireworks to celebrate the event. Home field is Fifth Third Ballpark in Comstock Park.

Jewish Theatre Grand Rapids has performed plays dealing with Jewish themes since 1992 and this year kicks off its bar mitzvah year with two comedies: April 20-30 “From Door to Door” and June 15-25 “Esther, the Musical.” Plays are presented at Spectrum Theater.

Annual events:
April 6-8: Rotary East Antique Fair and Sale
is in its 33rd year. The Rotary East Charities event is held at the EGR Middle School and features 50 dealers from six states, along with raffles, door prizes, appraisers and lectures. It kicks off with a Gala Premier Night on Thursday evening.

April 22-May 7: Gilmore International Keyboard Festival is headquartered in Kalamazoo but brings many events to venues in Grand Rapids, including Calvin College, St. Cecilia and Forest Hills Fine Art Center.

April 28, 29: Showcase of Remodeled Homes is put on by the Home & Building Association of Greater Grand Rapids and features home tours highlighting the latest in kitchens, master suites, recreation rooms and home offices.

April 30-May 4: Jewish Film Festival is sponsored by the Jewish Federation of Grand Rapids, which brings selected movies, special programs and speakers to a local venue.

Exhibit openings:
“Photographing Architecture: 70 Years at Hedrich Blessing”
runs May 5-Aug. 20 at Grand Rapids Art Museum, showing photographs from the Hedrich Blessing Chicago-based studio that revolutionized architectural photography.

Season openers:
Circle Theatre’s
season begins this month and includes a play a month through September. 2006 season includes “Oliver!” “Duck Hunter Shoots Angel,” “Moby Dick! The Musical,” “The Boys Next Door,” and “A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum.” Plays are presented at Aquinas College Performing Arts Center.

Fulton Street Farmers Market is in full swing this month with farm stands offering seasonal produce, flowers, plants and crafts. 8 a.m.-4 p.m. Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday. 1147 E. Fulton St., just west of Fuller Ave.

Annual events:
May 6-13: Tulip Time festival
in Holland was named Best Small Town Festival by Readers Digest and includes a packed schedule of music (Three Dog Night, Frankie Avalon and the Oak Ridge Boys are 2006 music headliners), three parades, a Dutch marketplace, children’s events, klompen dancers and thousands of tulips.

May 13: Fifth Third River Bank Run is a GR institution, the largest 25K race in the nation, including 25K wheelchair and team divisions, and 5K run and walk. More than 10,000 participants converge on downtown for the event.

May 26-June 10: 2006 Spring Parade of Homes is the 47th anniversary of this city-wide event that features tours through new area homes in a wide range of styles and price ranges. Sponsored by the Home & Building Association of Greater Grand Rapids. (800) 305-2021 or

Exhibit openings:
“Ansel Adams and Edwin Land: Art, Science and Invention – Photographs From the Polaroid Collection”
opens June 23 and runs through Aug. 27 at the Grand Rapids Art Museum. One-of-a-kind black and white Polaroid prints made by Adams, lively correspondence between the two contemporaries, humorous postcards and rare examples of Adam’s early commercial work will be on display.

The Handweavers Guild of America holds its biennial international Convergence 2006 convention at DeVos Place June 25-July 1, sparking several Handweavers Guild juried exhibits around town: “The Grand Welcome,” June 14-Sept. 4, Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park, an outdoor exhibit of large-scale banners; “Small Expressions” and “Great Lengths,” June 23-Aug. 13, Gerald R. Ford Museum, small fiber art works and lengths of fiber; “Celebration!” June 24-Aug. 19, Fountain Street Church, a “spiritual fiber exhibit.” Also hosting exhibits will be Van Andel Museum Center, Kendall College of Art & Design and others.

“Tom Otterness in Grand Rapids, From the Gardens to the Grand” opens June 1 and highlights the importance of this internationally known artist’s achievements as well as Grand Rapids’ history of displaying public art. Approximately 15 of Otterness’ major works will be displayed in the downtown area, with additional sculptures, models, maquettes and drawings in the galleries and on the grounds of Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park.

Season openers:
Hope Summer Repertory Theatre
gets underway and runs through August, showing eight plays in a repertory format at several venues in Holland, all by one professional company. Box office: (616) 395-7890 or

Meijer Gardens Summer Concert Series, held in a beautiful outdoor amphitheater and featuring national headliners, promises to be the best yet. Line-up announced in spring 2006.

Blues on the Mall is a downtown tradition of free Wednesday night blues concerts in Rosa Parks Circle.

Jazz at the Zoo is hosted by West Michigan Jazz Society, 10 weeks of free Monday night concerts at John Ball Park band shell.

John Collins Park Concerts are held Tuesday evenings and feature family entertainment at this Reeds Lake park in EGR.

Rogue River Blues Series features six weeks of free Tuesday night blues concerts at Rockford’s Garden Park, along the river behind Arnie’s.

Lowell Showboat Sizzlin’ Summer Concerts begin mid-month and feature 10 weeks of a variety of free music on Riverfront Plaza along the Flat River.

Annual events:
June 2-4: Festival of the Arts
is a Grand Rapids’ jewel, a downtown community arts celebration born in 1970 and now accomplished with the help of 20,000 volunteers. Music, art, theater, dance, kids’ activities — and everything is free but the food. Begins noon Friday and goes to 2 p.m. Sunday.

June 8-11: Waterfront Film Festival in Saugatuck is in its seventh year and has grown by leaps and bounds. A street party and free outdoor film kicks off the long weekend, which includes three days of screenings, parties, seminars and Q&A sessions with directors and film guests.

June 9-11: Rockford Start of Summer Celebration is a long weekend of free activities and entertainment that gets the summer started in the town of Rockford.

June 9: Fox Fest free outdoor concert features music from rock ’n’ roll legends, held in the evening at the Ionia Fairgrounds. Tickets available at 101.3 FM (The Fox).

June 10, 11: B-93 Birthday Bash is a huge outdoor country music concert attracting tens of thousands of fans and featuring national acts. Held at the Ionia Fairgrounds. Tickets available at B-93 radio remotes.

June 17: Eastown Bizarre Bazaar is a daylong open-air market featuring vendors, area artists and craftsmen, sidewalk sales, street performers and acoustic music at the Wealthy and Lake Drive intersection.

June 17: Reeds Lake Art Festival is put on by Grand Valley Artists and features more than 130 booths of juried art for sale in EGR’s Gaslight Village. 9 am-5 pm.

June 29-July 9: Muskegon Summer Celebration features art, crafts, a midway, children’s activity tent, parade, fireworks on the 4th and live concerts. Heritage Landing, Muskegon.

Season openers:
Heritage Theatre Group
begins its 13th season of presenting three “classic” plays during July and August. Productions take place at Spectrum Theater.

Picnic Pops is GR Symphony’s summer series of outdoor concerts held on four consecutive Thursday and Friday evenings on the grassy slopes of Cannonsburg Ski Area. Arrive early to picnic and enjoy fun family activities.

Annual events:
July 4: Fourth of July
downtown GR celebration takes place at Ah-Nab-Awen Park (west side of the river in front of Ford Museum) where family festivities begin at 3 p.m. Evening concerts and the grand finale: fireworks at dusk.

July 7-8: Lowell Riverwalk Festival is in its 12th year and includes arts and crafts, children’s area, historic walking tours and river tour, pontoon rides, kayak race, food booths, sidewalk sales, duck race, Rocking the Riverwalk concert and fireworks.

July 21-23: Muskegon Air Fair is Michigan’s largest air show, held at Muskegon County Airport. It begins with a pre-flight party on Friday night.

July 28-Aug. 6: Grand Haven Coast Guard Festival honors the men and women of the U.S. Coast Guard with 10 days of parades, a midway, nightly entertainment, craft show, street dance, pageant, fireworks and more. (888) 207-2434 or

Annual events:
Aug. 10-12: Unity 2006 Christian Music Festival
offers three stages, free kids’ area, free “extreme” games and more. Heritage Landing Park, Muskegon.

Aug. 12: Rockford Celtic Fest features the Renaissance Reenactment Group, Celtic vendors and food, children’s area and beer tent. Downtown Rockford and along Rogue River at Garden Park. Sponsored by Rockford Area Arts Commission.

Aug. 13: Cowpie Blues Fest features high-quality blues acts such as Motorcity Josh, The Jimmie Stagger Band and many more in a field at Shagbark Farm outside the town of Alaska.

Aug 17-20: 42nd Annual Danish Festival is a celebration of Greenville’s heritage, with the Grand Dansk Parade, Festival Breakfast, Danish Dinner, arts and crafts fair, kringles, aebleskivers and more.

Aug. 26-28: Polish Festival annually celebrates Polish heritage with traditional and contemporary Polish food, polka music, local bands and kids’ activities, on Calder Plaza in downtown GR. Date to be confirmed.

Exhibit openings:
“Magdalena Abakanowicz: The Drawings”
runs Sept. 22-Dec. 31 and features more than 50 drawings by this internationally known sculptor, organized by and exhibited at Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park.

Season openers:
Actors at Spectrum Theater
began in 1980 with the mission of putting on plays that were not being seen elsewhere in the region. The season runs through March, featuring five productions that are a mixture of drama, comedy and musicals.

Broadway Theatre Guild begins its 20th season of bringing exciting Broadway plays and musicals to DeVos Performance Hall. The five-part series runs through June.

Forest Hills Fine Arts Center Subscription Series offers a wide selection of theater, concerts, stand-up comedy and more, all presented at the lovely Forest Hills FAC.

Grand Rapids Civic Theatre is the second largest community theater in the country and boasts more than 6,000 season ticket holders. It offers six main stage productions plus two for children at its facility in downtown GR.

Grand Rapids Symphony begins its multi-faceted season comprised of a Classical Series, Pops Series, Casual Classics, Coffee Classics, Sound Discoveries Series, Family Series, Lollipop Concerts and more. The organization turned 75 in 2005 and now is comprised of an 80-piece orchestra. Performances are generally in DeVos Performance Hall with Casual and Coffee Classics held in the Royce Auditorium of St. Cecilia Music Society, Sound Discoveries at Forest Hills FAC, and others throughout the community and state.

Annual events:
Sept. 7-9: Celebration on the Grand
is GR’s end-of-summer party at Rosa Parks Circle and Ah-Nab-Awen Park with live music, fireworks Friday night, and much more.

Sept. 8-10: Hispanic Festival, in its 28th year and held at Calder Plaza in downtown GR, is the largest in Michigan, with food booths, beverage tents, retail mercado (marketplace) and a large kids’ activity area. Proceeds benefit Hispanic Center of Western Michigan.

Sept. 9: Patriot Day Parade is sponsored by the GR Jaycees and pays tribute to the heroes in our community. Begins at 11 a.m. at Jefferson Avenue and Fulton Street and travels west to Mount Vernon Avenue (by GVSU campus).

Sept. 16: Cottage Bar Chili Cook-Off is a big “block party” that’s been going on for 25 years, with live music beginning at noon and chili tasting at 3 p.m. Cottage Bar, 18 LaGrave Ave. SE.

Sept. 22-Oct. 7: Fall Parade of Homes is put on by HBAGGR and showcases tours of homes newly built around town. One ticket allows entry to all homes.

Sept. 22-24: Rockford Harvest Festival begins with the first of three consecutive weekends offering a line-up of family activities.

Sept. 23: Eastown Street Fair rocks the neighborhood with live bands, beer and food booths, arts and crafts. In its 28th year. Date to be confirmed.

Sept. 23-24: Fallasburg Fall Festival is a juried art event sponsored by the Lowell Arts Council and includes traditional craft demonstrations, live music and food booths in the lovely setting of Fallasburg Park north of Lowell. Free.

Exhibit openings:
“The Eames Lounge Chair: An Icon of Modern Design”
celebrates the 50th anniversary of the chair that married style and comfort. Oct. 6-Dec. 31 at the Grand Rapids Art Museum.

Season openers:
Grand Rapids Ballet Company
opens its season with one of three main stage performances at DeVos Performance Hall. Season also includes four Dancers Series performances in the company’s intimate Studio A, and one or two special performances.

Grand Rapids Griffins, GR’s American Hockey League team, is the primary affiliate of the Detroit Red Wings. Home games are played at the Van Andel Arena.

Opera Grand Rapids opens its 2006-’07 season of three performances

St. Cecilia Music Society Kaleidoscope Series is a three-part series of concerts that includes a variety of musical styles, presented in its Royce Auditorium.

Van Singel Fine Arts Center Gainey Season performance series continues through April with a wide variety of professional musical entertainment. The Van Singel FAC is located in Byron Center.

Annual events:
Oct. 6-8: Pulaski Days
annually celebrates GR’s Polish heritage. Festivities include a parade on Saturday, polka dancing, great food and drink.

Oct 7-8: Heritage Hill Weekend Tour of Homes features tours through lovely historic homes along with some public buildings and the museum’s Voigt House. Heritage Hill Association, 459-8950.

Oct. 7-8: Red Flannel Festival is a tradition in Cedar Springs and includes a lumberjack dinner, beauty pageant, bed race and, on Red Flannel Day a flea market, carnival, street fair and Grand Parade.

Oct. 13-15: Fall Home Show is a one-stop shop for home-related needs put on by the HBAGGR, with exhibitor booths, children’s building area, special promotions, giveaways and entertainment at Center-
pointe Mall. Free.

Oct. 14: Lowell Harvest Celebration includes Kent County Youth Arts & Crafts Show, Larkin’s Chili Madness Cook-off, Harvest Hustle 5K, Historic Home Tour, Flat River Antique Fair and Downtown Retailers Open House.

Oct. 29: Grand Rapids Marathon is just 3 years old. It’s a certified 26.2 mile course beginning and ending downtown and following the Grand River south. 7 a.m. start for the velocity-challenged and walkers, 8 a.m. for full and half marathoners.

Annual events:
Nov 3-5: Beneath the Wreath
is a fundraiser for the Grand Rapids Junior League that features holiday gift shopping among booths of items offered by premium exhibitors from around the country. Held at the Cultural Center of St. Nicholas, 2250 East Paris Ave. SE.

Nov 18: Santa Claus Parade is sponsored by the GR Jaycees and takes place downtown beginning at 10 a.m. on Fulton Street at Jefferson Avenue, heading west to Monroe and north to Pearl. Bands, floats, community groups and, of course, Santa.

Nov. 22-Jan. 8: Christmas Around the World and Holiday Traditions at Frederik Meijer Gardens features 40 decorated trees and displays of holiday traditions. Includes special events such as carriage rides, live music and children’s activities.

Nov. 24-Jan. 1: Home for the Holidays at the Van Andel Museum Center means the museum will be aglow with holiday lights and traditional decorations.

Exhibit openings:
“American Slavery on Trial: Dred Scott vs. Sandford”
opens Dec. 8 and examines America’s experience with slavery. Gerald R. Ford Museum.

Annual events:
Dec. 1, 2: Handel’s “Messiah” is performed by Calvin College’s Oratorio Society in DeVos Performance Hall. The performance is in its 86th year.

Dec. 3: Holiday Open House at the Gerald R. Ford Museum celebrates the holidays with guests Santa and Mrs. Claus, along with crafts for children and music. Free.

Dec. 8-21: “The Nutcracker” is performed every year by the Grand Rapids Ballet Company, a local holiday favorite with music by the Grand Rapids Symphony and performed in DeVos Performance Hall.

Dec. 31: GR Symphony New Year’s Eve Gala Concert is annually sponsored by the Rotary Club of Grand Rapids Charities Foundation, with proceeds benefiting local charities. The performance takes place in DeVos Performance Hall. GR

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